The effects of devastating summer floods are still fresh in the minds of people who live in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. Environmental experts predict climate change will lead to more frequent dramatic weather events like that heavy rain. YNN's Sarah Blazonis stopped by the first Green Infrastructure Summit held at SUNY ESF. She tells us how communities are working to make sure they're ready if and when they get hit.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Whether it's installing new drainage in a park or paving roads, a few questions have become second nature for Onondaga County officials when planning new infrastructure projects.
"We think first about green infrastructure components to it. Can we have plants? Can we have a porous pavement?" said County Executive Joanie Mahoney.
It's a movement that's spreading nationwide and Monday the EPA announced plans to help make it easier for communities to undertake projects of their own. The agency's deputy administrator says efforts to deal with storm and wastewater are especially important because of changing weather expected to lead to stronger storms and flooding.
"Green infrastructure really has an opportunity by getting back to a more natural drainage system, a more natural hydrology if you will, that we can help mitigate the damage," said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe.
The EPA's new strategy includes making green projects more affordable by finding opportunities for private investment and government funding.
The effort to build more environmentally-friendly infrastructure isn't the only green movement seeing growth. One EPA official says bike racks like this are an example of people taking steps in their own lives to benefit the environment.
But this isn't quite second nature yet. One way to get individuals involved: Making it easy to be green.
"We have a couple pilot projects going on where food waste and yard waste is picked up at the curb. That's going to be a lot easier for people than setting up their own composting bin," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.
They're changes now officials say could make a big difference towards preserving communities for the future.